A few new studies contribute new insights to relationship health
How often do you double date? Is a date with your partner as important to you as a meeting at work? The answers to these two questions could reveal new ways to reignite passion in your relationship! A new study from Wayne State University demonstrates why double dating brings couples closer together, while a new study from the University of Illinois recommends that couples develop a relationship work ethic that rivals—or at least equals—their professional work ethic.
Double Down on Double Dating
You don’t have to hedge your bets on this one: Going on a double date may be more effective at reigniting passion in your own relationship than the classic candlelit dinner for two. According to new research, growing a friendship with another couple where you discuss personal details of your life will actually bring you closer to your own partner.
In two studies with about 150 couples, researchers used the “Fast Friends” activity to help couples bond. Couples answer basic “get-to-know-you” questions, such as “What is your idea of a perfect day?” or “What was the most embarrassing moment in your life?”
“This task has been repeatedly shown to make both strangers and friends closer to each other,” the study authors say.
Couples who met through the high-disclosure Fast Friends activity reported higher feelings of passionate love than those assigned to small-talk interactions. “The more that the other couple responds to your self-disclosures in a validating and caring way when on a double date, the more passionate you feel about your own relationship,” the study explains.
The next time you plan a date night, plan to cook with another couple: dinners at home increase sharing and disclosure, bringing you not only closer to the other couple, but closer to your own partner.
Schedule That Date
Ready to schedule a double date? Make sure you commit: “When people enter the workplace, they make an effort to arrive on time, be productive throughout the day, listen attentively to co-workers and supervisors, try to get along with others, and dress and groom themselves to make a good impression,” says Jill R. Bowers, who argues that couples should do the same.
If you can treat your relationship like your job, investing the same kind of energy as you do in the office into active listening, planning time together, finding workable solutions (like for sharing household tasks), and handling personal stress, you’ll reap major rewards. “But that can be hard to do when you get home and you’re tired and emotionally drained, and the second shift begins,” concedes Bowers.
“The job gets all your energy, and there’s little left over for what comes after. That’s why you have to be intentional about working on your romantic partnership,” Bowers noted.
“Shortchanging your relationship could mean serious relationship issues, and that has real implications for your mental and physical health. That’s why we advise taking your relationship work ethic seriously and making time for your partner intentional.”